Practical Farmers of Iowa Announces 14 On-Farm Job Opportunities for Aspiring Farmers

For Release: February 12, 2016

Ames, Iowa —Farming provides fulfilling work and generates healthy food and fiber, but requires hard work, long hours, and knowledge of not only how to grow or raise things, but how to run a successful business. Working on a farm before starting your own is a great way for aspiring farmers to gain practical experience, as well as find out if farming is as desirable of a career path in reality as in theory.

To help provide on-the-job perspective, Practical Farmers of Iowa is pleased to invite aspiring farmers to get farming experience through on-farm job opportunities in its Labor4Learning program. Fourteen experienced farmers from around the state committed to hire an employee through the Labor4Learning program and provide them with additional training in topics essential to be a successful farmer. These “trainer farms” were approved to serve as qualified teachers by a committee of Practical Farmers of Iowa members. Details of these 14 employment opportunities are listed on PFI’s website.

Entering its fourth year, Labor4Learning is beneficial for both parties: Experienced farmers find high quality, motivated workers, and aspiring farmers find employment on a reputable farm, gain additional training beyond their wage-earning activities and build a network of beginning and experienced farmers through PFI.

Business and financial topics are often facets of the farm that a typical employee won’t be involved with. Through this program, the trainer and trainee develop a set of learning outcomes to cover throughout the term of employment. These can be in-field production skills, but also important skills for running a small business such as record keeping, financial planning and marketing.

After working with organic farmer Scott Shriver in Jefferson, Iowa through Labor4Learning, beginning farmer Ben Barron said, “It definitely helped me get to where I want to be. I gained the confidence that I can do this.” Scott is seeking to hire another Labor4Learning trainee this year to help with his organic row crops, small grains and alfalfa operation, and says: “The most important skill to possess will be an eagerness to learn about organic farming.”

The 14 job opportunities include farms growing fruits and vegetables, livestock, and row crops. Each position varies in duration, hours, work activities, and compensation. Find the full job descriptions and more program details at To be qualified as a trainee, the applicant must have a strong desire to learn, be a current member of Practical Farmers of Iowa, and apply to and be hired by a trainer farm.

2016 Labor4Learning Trainer Farms:

• Paul and Nancy Ackley, Taylor County: Beef cattle, corn, soybeans, small grains, hair sheep
• Doug Alert and Margaret Smith, Franklin County: Organic row crops, small grains, hay, pasture, beef cow/calf, ewe flock, lambs, poultry
• Jon Bakehouse, Maple Edge Farm, Mills County: Corn, soy, alfalfa, beef cattle, pasture, small grains
• Jill Beebout and Sean Skeehan, Blue Gate Farm, Marion County: Produce, poultry, alpacas, honey bees, fruit trees, value added products, hay
• Tom and Mary Cory, Cory Family Farm, Polk County: Beef, Sheep, poultry, hay, pasture
• Rob and Tammy Faux, Genuine Faux Farm, Bremer County: Certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry
• Rick and Stacy Hartmann, Small Potatoes Farm, Dallas County: Certified organic fruits and vegetables, poultry
• James Nisly, Organic Greens, Washington County: Certified organic produce, mini greens, micro greens, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potatoes
• Denise O’Brien and Larry Harris, Rolling Acres Farm, Cass County: Produce, cover crops, poultry
• Mike Salama, Salama Greenhouse, Boone County: Greenhouse production of ornamentals and vegetables
• Ben Saunders, Wabi Sabi Farm, Polk County: Certified organic fruits and vegetables
• Erik Sessions, Patchwork Green Farm, Winneshiek County: Naturally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers
• Scott Shriver, Shriver Farms, Greene County: Organic row crops, small grains, alfalfa
• John Wesselius, The Cornucopia, Sioux County: Produce, poultry, pork


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit


Steve Carlson | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |